As part of the team producing “Offside” — a Magnum-led project that sees Magnum photographers and a group of Brazilian image makers creatively visualize Brazil during the World Cup — Jonas Bendiksen has shot these epic, super slow-motion videos of soccer fans and amateur soccer players in action. He’s called them “Still Films,” and below he explains why he sees these pieces as photographic works of art, and not as videos.
I love moving images, but I don’t see why they always have to be forced into the tight framework of narrative films. In photography, I love the single moments, the quest to distill the essence out of situations.
I love to move freely when I photograph, without the big production crews often associated with even the smallest of films. I love the found moments, to ‘not direct’. So I tried to think what my dream format that blended these two.
What you see here is the result: small films that are photographed using a super-slow motion camera, that can convert a second’s decisive moment into twenty seconds of video. The film gets slowed down so much one absorbs it more as a photograph than a movie.
I think photography has always been freer than the moving image. People “who know about” video always criticize when people film upright with their phones. Experts and video players always want video to be widescreen for some reason. TVs are only made in one aspect ratio. Supposedly, you have to capture perfect sound if the video is to be “professional.” Why all these rules? Still Films is a way to to escape them, and still play with motion.
Jonas Bendiksen is a photographer working with Magnum Photos and National Geographic magazine.